Uneasy Nature

  • Feb 18, 2006 – May 28, 2006
Jennifer Steinkamp, "Hurdy Gurdy Man (Dahlia)", 2005. Projected digital
animation, approx. 36 x 48 in. Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin
Gallery, New York.

Uneasy Nature brings together six internationally recognized artists who incorporate mythology, folklore and narrative to reflect on the evolving perception of nature in contemporary culture. The exhibition includes sculpture, digital animation, collage, and photography by Lee Bul (Korea), Bryan Crockett (US), Roxy Paine (US), Patricia Piccinini (Australia), Alyson Shotz (US) and Jennifer Steinkamp (US).

The impact of technology and industry on nature is immense. We hear and see signs of it everyday, usually in terms of high heat indexes, pollution, natural disasters and animal extinction. But our influence on nature is miniscule compared to the intrusiveness envisioned by biotechnology. The introduction of genetically engineered foods and animals and the ongoing research into stem cells present us with a whole new reality of potential organic forms and creatures. In the 21st century, with the effects of genetic engineering and global warming on the environment becoming evident, we have re-awakened to a new, distorted nature of mythic character.

Mesmerizing and, at times, unsettling, the works in Uneasy Nature manifest this uncomfortable view of a nature altered. Steinkamp's Hurdy Gurdy Man (2005), a projected digital animation, presents uncanny replications of gyrating flowering plants, while Paine's seemingly indestructible steel tree Misnomer (2005) conveys both a protected and imprisoned version of nature. Shotz's Cocoon (2005), which alludes to metamorphosis, visualizes space as a liquiform mirage of refracted color and light; Crockett's “ghost” sculptures, fusions of tree and human forms, reflect upon our quest for immortality; and Piccinini's representations of “new” stem cell-derived creatures embody our anxiety over genetic experimentation. Bul's Ein Hungerkunstler (2004), a chimaera composed of plant, insect and machine forms, symbolizes the pursuit of physical and psychological transformation in relationship to society.

Uneasy Nature is curated by Xandra Eden, curator of exhibitions at the Weatherspoon Art Museum. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with full color images of the work in the exhibition, artists' biographies, and essays by Eden and British cultural historian, critic and novelist Marina Warner. The catalogue for Uneasy Nature is made possible through the generous support of the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

 

We have six galleries located on the first and second levels of the museum, view our gallery map.